Each spring, the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs offers two groups of Chavez Club members, "Chavistas", an educational trip to Washington. These trips are made possible thanks to generous contributions from an anonymous donor and our airline sponsor, Southwest Airlines. This year, the Chavez Clubs took two separate groups of Chavistas to Washington, one trip in late March and other in early April. Each trip is planned, organized and chaperoned by our Club Managers.
For 2019, our first trip was for high school students from Crawford, Hoover and San Diego High Schools. Thirty Chavistas made the trip, 13 students from Crawford High, 12 students from Hoover High and 5 students from San Diego High. Our second trip this year brought 20 students from Monroe Clark and Wilson Middle School to DC.
Our Club Managers, Natalie LeGerrette, Andrew Sanchez, Paty Arvizu and Chris Rodriguez chaperoned the trips and made sure that the Chavistas had great educational tours and engaging experiences during their trip. During their week in DC, the Chavistas got to visit the monuments on the Mall, the White House and the Ford Theater Museum where Lincoln was shot. Their tours also included visits to museums such as the African American Museum, the Holocaust Museum, the Native American Museum, Newseum and the Portrait Gallery. At the American Museum, they saw interesting American-made artifacts and biographies of American role models such as Cesar Chavez, Raoul A. Cortez, and Luisa Moreno to name a few. The groups also toured Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington.
Club Manager, Andrew Sanchez made his first trip to DC this year as a Chaperone and was impressed by the strong interest the Chavistas had in the details of American History. He told the Chavez Clubs Board about how engaged his Chavistas were during a guided tour of the Capitol building. According to Andrew, the guide loved the questions he got from the Chavistas and said he could tell them stories and details that he typically would not share with an average tourist group, giving a deeper meaning to the history of stories like the real story of Pocahontas.
"What really impressed me about our Chavistas on the DC trip was how they were able to get to know the students from other high schools and how they bonded during the trip," said Andrew. "They left as strangers from cross-town high schools and came back as friends who are now planning future events where they can continue their new friendships."
Club Manager Paty Arvizu observed that for the Chavistas, this trip was a first exposure to a city with a different ethnic make-up compared to their own community. She also was surprised that the Chavistas really engaged deeply with history and that they loved their visit to the Arlington National Cemetery, Mt. Vernon and the African American Museum. "The activities on our trip not only gave the Chavistas a chance to learn about history but to also a lot about each other." said Paty.